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J Cell Physiol. 1985 Sep;124(3):474-80.

Wheat germ agglutinin and concanavalin A inhibit the response of human fibroblasts to peptide growth factors by a post-receptor mechanism.


The effect of plant lectins on amino acid uptake and DNA synthesis in cultured human skin fibroblasts stimulated by various peptide mitogens was studied. Wheat germ agglutinin (WGA), at a concentration of 5 micrograms/ml, which by itself had little effect on 3H-aminoisobutyric acid (AIB) uptake, markedly inhibited stimulation of 3H-AIB uptake by somatomedin-C, insulin, epidermal growth factor (EGF) and platelet-derived growth factor. This inhibition could not be overcome by increasing the concentration of peptide added. Neither WGA nor concanavalin A (Con A) significantly affected basal 3H-thymidine incorporation. However both lectins, at concentrations of 5-20 micrograms/ml, decreased EGF- and insulin-stimulated DNA synthesis while succinyl Con A, a divalent lectin derivative, did not. The inhibitory effects of lectins on mitogenic stimulation were reversed by alpha-methyl mannose (Con A) or N-acetylglucosamine (WGA), and were not due to a reduction in the binding of growth factors to their receptors. It is concluded that certain lectins noncompetitively inhibit the response of human fibroblasts to multiple peptide mitogens at the post-receptor level, possibly by interfering with lateral mobility and aggregation of mitogen-receptor complexes.

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